The Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation

By Raw, Laurence | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), June 2008 | Go to article overview

The Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation


Raw, Laurence, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


The Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation James M. Welsh and Peter Lev, Eds. Lanham, MD: Toronto and Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, 2007.

The Literature/Film Reader focuses on the current state of adaptation studies in the United States, Great Britain and elsewhere. Some of articles have already been published in Literature/ Film Quarterly or other scholarly journals; others were specially commissioned for this anthology.

The book offers a comprehensive guide to the range of opinions currently dominating the discipline. There are those-such as Welsh himself-who believe (with some justification) that fidelity issues still have an important part to play. He is particularly critical of films like Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow (1999) which he believes takes "outrageous and absurd liberties" with Washington Irving's text (172). David Kranz takes a stand against poststructuralism and postmodernism, calling instead for a return to the standards of objective enquiry that will guarantee adaptation studies' survival "as a subset of both literature and film studies" (99). Thomas Leitch and Peter Lev advocate a more creative approach to the discipline by placing emphasis on the process of adaptation as an imaginative response to the source text. Leitch argues that this will help to promote "creative literacy" in academia (31) and thereby permit "greater hybridity" (to use Lev's phrase) in terms of the materials studied. Sarah Cardwell's "Adaptation Studies Revisited" proposes other fruitful areas of investigation - for example film aesthetics or comparing the temporal constructions of novel, play and film. …

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